Interview with Art Collectors Myriam and Amaury de Solages
by Gloria Maria Cappelletti and Fabrizio Meris
Maison Particulière is a private, nonprofit art center in the heart of Brussels by the Place du Châtelain. This renovated townhouse devoted to contemporary art has been created by the initiative of a couple of art collectors, Myriam and Amaury de Solages, and opened its doors in April 2011.
There is no permanent collection at Maison Particulière, but three times a year, four collectors, one artist, and one literary guest are invited to present an exhibit based on a given theme of reflection. This very unique and personal approach mirrors the spirit of freedom and sophistication that moves the de Solages collection as well.
Collector Tribune has the pleasure to reveal an exclusive interview with Amaury de Solages, who shares with us the heartbeat, inspiration and vision of his collection and art center.
Collector Tribune: To what do you attribute the passion for art that led you and your wife to become renowned collectors and promoters of contemporary art in Brussels through Maison Particulière, which is a private art center open to the public?
Amaury de Solages: It is very difficult to attribute my passion for art to one single fact or element.
I was born to a family of avid art collectors and my passion for ancient art and silver objects began in my youth. It was in my mid-twenties that I began to buy some contemporary art.
My wife too is just as passionate as me about fine arts, she has haunted museums ever since she was a child, and she enjoys roaming art venues on her own, intimately studying works of art.
Even now, I am not sure to consider ourselves as «art collectors», we’d rather use the term of «art lovers» in the true sense of the word: in love with the creation of art.
The art center – Maison Particulière – we created two years ago in Brussels, is rooted in the pleasure we have in sharing our joy of living among ancient and modern works of arts at home. It is a creative project on a human scale which gives us myriad of options to express our boundless love of art. We had wished an easy access to all kind of public, without any previous appointment and we are open 6 days a week.
By inviting art collectors to exhibit, along our side, selected pieces from their own collection, we are stimulating individual responses on the viewer’s part as well as enhancing what is central to us in our project, the eye of the collector. Maison Particulière is not at all an exclusive outlet for our private collection; it showcases three art exhibits a year grouping various art collectors, artists and literary contributors. Each one is given a guiding theme; we then imagine and set up the installation in this house.
This initiative brings to view new works, promotes young and upcoming artists, and allows collectors to revisit their own acquisitions, often put away in storehouses, in displaying them alongside other works of art to the general public, thus stimulating a true and renewed dialogue in a spirit of sharing and generosity.
We must say that we’ve had the pleasure of counting on the generous lending of artworks by many passionate art collectors for the past six art exhibits.
TCT: Sometimes if you give works to museums or put them on long-term loan, it’s unlikely those works will be on permanent display. Is this one of the reasons why you decided to share the collection in your private art center?
AdS: The statement is true, but sharing parts of our collection with the public simply comes from an other point of view: it gives sense to our act of collecting. Nothing belongs to you really, we consider ourselves as messengers, from the artist to the public. Anyway a work not shown is a dead work.
TCT: How did you start collecting?
AdS: My first collection consisted of 17th century Russian silver boxes bought at flea markets in Paris when I was 20 years old. Six years later I bought my first contemporary artwork by Eduardo Arroyo, a Spanish painter.
If these days contemporary art retains much more our attention, it is due to the fact that we very much enjoy meeting the artists. Sometimes, we may hope that acquiring pieces of young artists give them the possibility to keep on creating. It is self-satisfactory. Contemporary art goes with understanding and viewing contemporary society.
TCT: Are you an impulsive buyer, or do you research before acquiring art?
AdS: Both. We’re quite impulsive when we already know the artist and the artwork meets my financial means. When I do not know the artist I do research before.
TCT: Some say a collection is in itself a work of art. Do you agree?
AdS: No I do not agree. It is the artist that makes an artwork. We should never confuse a collector with an artist.
TCT: Do you see your collection as a portrait of yourself?
AdS: Guided by our shared passion, emotions and interests, Myriam and I have gathered over the years a collection that reflects our own eclectic style, beyond the confines of time, period, discipline, and geography. Our inquisitiveness and passion does not lead us in one direction, but many. So we may say that, as we are curious and open to the world, our collection is somehow a portrait of ourselves.
TCT: Out of all the art works in your collection, what is your favourite piece?
AdS: Similar to what occurs when one asks which child is your favourite, we’d say that we do not have a favourite artwork, we all love them!
TCT: Thank you very much for the kind interview!
For further information on Maison Particulière: http://www.maisonparticuliere.be/fr/les-fondateurs.html